Israel announces it has freed two Hamas hostages during a night operation in Rafah

Israel announced on Monday February 12 that it had released two Hamas hostages in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip. “Fernando Simon Marman, 60, and Louis Har, 70, were recovered during a nighttime operation in Rafah carried out jointly by the army, the Shin Beth [Sécurité intérieure] and the Israeli police., according to a press release from these three services. Abducted from Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak on October 7, the two men were taken to the Sheba Medical Center, in the suburbs of Tel Aviv, for initial medical examinations. “They are in stable condition”, described the director of the establishment. According to Hamas, “around 100” people were killed during this nighttime operation.

Rafah under threat of an imminent Israeli offensive. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered his army to prepare an offensive on Rafah, on the border with Egypt, where 1.4 million Palestinians are currently massing, according to the UN. The Palestinian town, which has become a gigantic encampment, is the last urban center where the Israeli army has not yet penetrated.

International warnings against Israel. Several states have warned against “humanitarian disaster” in the event of an assault on the overpopulated city. Benyamin Netanyahu affirms that his country will ensure “a secure passage for the civilian population so that they can leave” the city, without specifying where civilians could take refuge.

A major humanitarian crisis. Around 1.7 million people, according to the UN, out of a total of 2.4 million inhabitants, have fled their homes since October 7 in the devastated Palestinian territory, besieged by Israel. Many were displaced several times, fleeing further south as the fighting spread.

Another hundred hostages. Around 250 people were kidnapped in Israel on October 7 and taken to Gaza. A week-long truce in November allowed the release of 105 hostages in exchange for 240 Palestinians detained by Israel. Before the release of the last two hostages, Israel estimated that 132 were still detained in Gaza, of whom 29 were believed to have died.

source site-24